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Length: 12-14 cm Weight: 11-20 g

Common Redpolls are small, acrobatic, and lively finches found in the northern boreal region during the summer. Most winter from the boreal to southern Canada and the northern U.S. Biennial cycles in the availability of favourite foods, such as spruce and alder seeds, result in Common Redpolls visiting areas densely populated by humans every other year as they come farther south in search of food.

The Common Redpoll has a yellowish beak and brown plumage with pale, streaked underparts. Adults have a red forehead and males have a pink or red wash underneath. Their chattering and bouncy mannerisms can be observed at feeders or as they hang precariously from the tips of tree branches to extract seeds from catkins or cones. In winter, they’ve been seen entering holes in snow to feed on the ground when vegetation is covered.

Although the Common Redpoll’s northerly range means it is not well surveyed by the Breeding Bird Survey, it is reasonably well surveyed by the Christmas Bird Count. It is considered common and widespread. This, plus its ability to adjust to food availability and conditions, means it is not currently of conservation concern.

(Photo: Nick Saunders)